Hare Krishna miracle stops smog

Written by Håkan Dahlström, CNN Dhaka, Bangladesh Friday marks the beginning of the Hindu new year. But in India’s capital, residents woke up to a toxic haze after nine days of choking smog forced…

Hare Krishna miracle stops smog

Written by Håkan Dahlström, CNN Dhaka, Bangladesh

Friday marks the beginning of the Hindu new year.

But in India’s capital, residents woke up to a toxic haze after nine days of choking smog forced the Supreme Court to order the city to take drastic measures to protect people’s health.

The capital’s chaotic traffic, India’s red-hot weather and the country’s notorious haze created an area of air “at least as hazardous as Baghdad,” the court said in its judgement.

The ban on burning garbage in the cities and a relaxation of construction and construction sites’ stringent pollution standards would “only hold off the inevitable,” the court said, adding that only better air quality can save the city.

Reuters reported that central authorities agreed to suspend demolition of old buildings along the Capital Region Industrial and Infrastructure Development Authority’s proposed National High Speed Rail Network, and only grant construction permits after the middle of April.

“The court’s order was based on sound environmental principles and scientific scientific evidence,” India’s environment minister Harsh Vardhan said in a press release, promising to follow the court’s order.

India has been plagued by deadly air pollution for years. According to Greenpeace, pollution levels in Indian cities are more than twice the maximum level recommended by the World Health Organization.

Read the full story on CNN.com/Bengaluru.

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